Channel swimming and my MS

Way back in 2003 I was diagnosed with MS – those of you who know me will know that it has never stopped me doing what I want to do. I continued to do local triathlons as well as many other things including XC skiing.

The Channel Swim was no different. It never occured to me that I shouldn’t try. More people climb Everest than succesfully swim the channel but my MS was going to stop me!

The training was going really really well, the cold water acclimatisation and the speed and distance work in the pool. I was happy in waters as cold as 11oC for nearly 45 minutes by the end of April. Then it happened. My MS decided to make a very rude appearance – damn it! My eyesight was severely affected; I developed quite severe nystagmus – rapid involuntary and oscillatory movement of the eyeball usually from side to side. It was most disorientatating! I was unable to drive and watching TV or reading was almost impossible.

It didn’t however stop me from open water swimming! I caught the train to Hartlepool and swam there. The Minkes were also due in Dover for a training weekend. I went and swam with the rest of the team. The following weekend I was off to the IOM for the fashion show and more training. You can get all the way to Newcastle airport by train!

So the cold water training was going well but when I tried to swim in a pool the tiles on the bottom whizzed past so quickly that it made me feel very nauseous. I couldn’t swim for more than about 6 lengths without needing to stop. Very frustrating!

After 3 weeks off sick I decided enough was enough and went back to driving and work. So I could then drive myself to the sea and lakes to swim.

By the time of my holiday to Rhodes at the end of June I was still unable to swim in a pool. I kept trying but kept feeling sick. So this was now 2 months with no significant pool work done. I was beginning to get worried that I had lost too much speed and would be unable to do the hoped for 2 miles/hour.

At the second Dover training weekend the 2 hour qualifying swim was completed. So that’s it we’re on and good to go!

It’s now onlPool speed sety 6 weeks till our window and I’ve finally managed to get back in the pool! I need to pick up the speed work now. The set I wrote myself to ease back into it went as as shown.

So it appears my relapse is over and I’m back on track! Bring it on!!!

2 thoughts on “Channel swimming and my MS

  1. Come on Jo you can do it….we have every faith in you.Whats that song…I get knocked down but get back up again well you keep going girl do us all proud behind you 100%…

  2. You will do it Jo as you are very determined! Nothing would stop you. the fact that you have kept going through so many challenges is an inspiration to many. I look forward to more swims with you and to also celebrating your channel swim success. Very best of luck to you and your team :)

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